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COVID19: Cyprus changes tact after interest wanes for AZ

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Cyprus has remodelled its vaccination schedule by giving age groups only 12 hours to book their appointment, as Cypriots continue to shun AstraZeneca.

Those aged 49 and 50 were initially allowed to book an appointment from Wednesday morning to Thursday night; now, they have until 8 pm Wednesday to grab a slot.

The portal opened at 7.30 am with 16,000 appointments available.

The Health Ministry said that 8710 appointments were made in the first a few hours, with 7890 Pfizer shots taken up and the remainder for AstraZeneca.

It is understood that health authorities revised their vaccination policy as there is little interest in AstraZeneca with thousands of doses left in storage.

There is a likelihood the AZ jab will be offered to younger age groups to improve COVID-19 vaccine take-up.

The portal had opened for ages 51 and 52 on Monday and Tuesday, with 9,360 appointments booked on Monday, mainly for Pfizer jabs, and another 510 were booked on Tuesday.

The schedule for appointments from Thursday until Sunday has been updated as follows:

Age group 47-48: Thursday, April 22

Age group 45-46 Friday, April 23

Age group 57-58 Saturday, April 24

Age group 59-60 Sunday, April 25

Appointments can be made from 7.30 am until 8 pm on these days.

People who do not book a vaccination appointment on the day designated will be given a second chance at a later date.

As of April 20, a total of 219,654 vaccinations (25 doses per 100 inhabitants) were administered, of which 161,389 (18.3% of the population) received the first dose, and 58,265 (6.6%) received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.